Washington, DC – At a time when our nation is seeing a rise in intolerant behaviour, crossing every cultural line, whether based on
race, religion or sexual orientation, we seem simultaneously stuck with a national news media that is preoccupied with conflict and controversy when we desperately need one that weighs facts and reports fairly. A recent national news programme reinforced these concerns. Let me explain what I mean.
Imagine a respected television show or news magazine article with the title, Should Americans Fear Black People?
Imagine staccato hip-hop music for the teaser, with clips of black gang members toting guns, hanging around urban scenes, looking scary. Imagine the zoom-in close up of a shoulder tattoo, proclaiming “Thug for Life”.
As the host (some household name) opens the show, imagine that the white expert opining about the root causes of urban decay is a nationally recognised racist like, for instance, David Duke, a former Louisiana State Representative and a leader in the Ku Klux Klan – a once widespread white supremacy movement. With a straight face, and no sense of irony, the host solicits Duke’s views, and he proceeds to declare, “When the American people saw the Los Angeles riots, they received a peek into their future”, referring to the 1992 riots that erupted following the acquittal of four white police officers who were on trial for beating Rodney King, an African American motorist.
Imagine the television cameras going in search of voices of “real” black people. Where do they go? The ‘hood of course! I mean, where else do black people live?
The intrepid host invites regular Americans to ask the experts to explain black pathology: “Why is their rap music so degrading to women?” Cynthia from Wyoming wonders. “Why are so many blacks at the bottom of the economic and educational ladder?” Chuck from New York muses.